CBS's Smith to Paladino: Have You 'Added Any Fuel to the Fire of Gay Hatred'?

On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interrogated New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino over comments he made in opposition to gay marriage: "But by making a statement like that, 'brain-washed into thinking homosexuality is acceptable.' You must think it's not normal....Do you think it's – that people are gay by choice or by birth?"

Paladino explained his position: "I have of no reservations about gay people at all, none, except for one thing, their desire to get married. I just feel – I'm a Catholic, and I feel – there's 7.5 million Catholics in New York State. I feel that marriage is only between a man and a woman." Smith continued to grill Paladino, implying the candidate was contributing to violence against homosexuals: "...this statement comes from, at a time when New Yorkers just learn about this horrendous attack by this gang on these young gay men in the Bronx, where they were tortured and sodomized....You don't feel like you've added any fuel to the fire of gay hatred by saying what you said?"

Smith began the interview by highlighting Paladino's personal indiscretions: "Does it seem to you that you are an unlikely candidate to be on some sort of morality crusade?" Paladino replied: "Oh, I don't think so. Yes, I know what you're referring to and I did apologize for that omission in my life and that recklessness." Smith added: "We're talking about a daughter out of wedlock."

Prior to Smith's interview with Paladino, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante declared: "When Carl Paladino speaks...controversy often follows." Like Smith, Plante brought up Paladino's affair: "Paladino, who has a 10-year-old daughter through an admitted extramarital  affair, has accused Cuomo of having had affairs and accused the media of ignoring that."

During Plante's report, the headline on-screen read: "Another Day, Another Controversy; NY Gov. Candidate Paladino Makes Anti-Gay Remark." Meanwhile, the Saturday edition of the Early Show only offered a 28-second mention of the anti-woman remarks of an aide to California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, who called Republican opponent Meg Whitman "a whore."

At the top of the 8AM ET hour of Monday's broadcast, news reader Jeff Glor reiterated the idea that Paladino was contributing to anti-gay violence: "...anti-gay remarks from the Republican candidate for governor are causing quite a stir. Carl Paladino was speaking at a campaign stop yesterday hours after eight people were arraigned in a violent anti-gay attack."

Here is a full transcript of Smith's October 11 interview with Paladino:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Campaign frenzy. With just weeks to go until the midterm elections, President Obama hits the trail trying to ignite his base, while New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino ignites yet another firestorm of controversy.

CARL PALADINO: I don't want them to be brain-washed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn't.

SMITH: Carl Paladino joins us in the studio to talk about the uproar.

7:04AM ET SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Now to politics, with the midterm elections just three weeks away, New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has ignited a firestorm of controversy over some anti-gay remarks. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has details on that. Good morning, Bill.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Harry. This has been a year when politicians of all kinds are saying whatever is on their minds, but Carl Paladino stands out.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Another Day, Another Controversy; NY Gov. Candidate Paladino Makes Anti-Gay Remark]

When Carl Paladino speaks – he's the tea party-backed Republican running for the governor of New York – controversy often follows. The latest case in point, meeting with orthodox Jewish leaders, he criticized his opponent, Andrew Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade.

CARL PALADINO: Don't misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie. My approach is live and let live. I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful, getting married and raising a family. And I don't want them to be brain-washed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn't.

PLANTE: Paladino, who has a 10-year-old daughter through an admitted extra-marital affair, has accused Cuomo of having had affairs and accused the media of ignoring that.

PALADINO: Does the media ask Andrew such questions? Andrew's prowess is legendary.

PLANTE: That claim came after the candidate had had a heated exchange with a newspaper reporter, who asked for proof of his allegations against Cuomo.

FRED DICKER [REPORTER, NEW YORK POST]: Do you have any evidence for the charge you made?

PALADINO: At the appropriate time, you'll get it.

DICKER: This guy's Attorney General of New York.

PALADINO: And you're his stalking horse, Fred Dicker! You're his stalking horse! You're his bird dog!

DICKER: You made this charge.

PALADINO: You send another goon to my daughter's house and I'll take you out, buddy.

DICKER: You're going to take me out?

PALADINO: Yeah.

DICKER: How are you going to do that?

PALADINO: Watch.

PLANTE: Paladino and Cuomo will meet in debate next Monday. It may be Paladino's last chance, he's running behind by about 18 points at this time. Harry.

SMITH: Bill Plante, thank you very much. Joining us now, Carl Paladino Republican candidate for governor of New York. Good morning.

PALADINO: Good morning.

SMITH: I know there was a lot of this speech that you didn't give that was in a text that was given to the press but at least one of the things that you did say for sure, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you don't want children brain-washed into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable. You did say that.

PALADINO: Yes.

SMITH: Does it seem to you that you are an unlikely candidate to be on some sort of morality crusade?

PALADINO: Oh, I don't think so. Yes, I know what you're referring to and I did apologize for that omission in my life and that recklessness.

SMTIH: We're talking about a daughter out of wedlock.

PALADINO: Here, I want to clearly define myself. I have of no reservations about gay people at all, none, except for one thing, their desire to get married. I just feel – I'm a Catholic, and I feel – there's 7.5 million Catholics in New York State. I feel that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Very clearly, I wanted to state that. Now, in addition, I have a nephew and I have worked – I have people working for me who are gay, never had a problem with any of them, never had a problem in any sense with their lifestyle and we've talked about it often. I talk about – I talk to them about the discrimination that they suffer and I'm sensitive to it. And that's why-

SMITH: Is being gay-

PALADINO: That's why a statement of that nature, for me to clearly define that, yes, it's not an easy life. It's a very, very difficult life. Most of them don't choose it.

SMITH: But by making a statement like that, 'brain-washed into thinking homosexuality is acceptable.' You must think it's not normal.

PALADINO: I don't think it should be taught in our schools.

SMITH: Do you think it's normal?

PALADINO: Do I-

SMITH: Do you think it's – that people are gay by choice or by birth?

PALADINO: Oh, I think – I think it's a matter of birth. I really do. I feel that – I feel that they're born that way and that's just fine.

SMITH: But, you clearly say brain-washed into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable. So, you think, basically – that you say it's unacceptable.
            
PALADINO: It's a very, very difficult –  no I'm saying it's a very, very difficult life. The discrimination that they suffer is very, very difficult and I'm totally sensitive to it. You know, Andrew wanted to come out and accuse me of-

SMITH: We're only going to talk about what you're talking about. And the other thing that where this statement comes from, at a time when New Yorkers just learn about this horrendous attack by this gang on these young gay men in the Bronx, where they were tortured and sodomized.

PALADINO: It's terrible.

SMITH: It's terrible.

PALADINO: It's terrible. Horrible.

SMITH: You don't feel like you've added any fuel to the fire of gay hatred by saying what you said?

PALADINO: It wasn't my intention. This thing was highlighted only because of the words that were on a written statement that I did not speak. I crossed them out, they were unacceptable to me. And that's the only reason we're talking about it today is because those words were given by someone to the press and the press, in their own pariah way, needed to write something, okay, so that's why this thing gets like this.

SMITH: Do you feel like you owe anybody an apology?

PALADINO: No. I think I made a very, very clear statement. And as the people at The Daily News and the Post that continue this pariah attitude that they've got to come and chase me for every darn thing, I think they owe me an apology at some point.

SMITH: Carl Paladino, we thank you for being here this morning.

PALADINO: Thank you.

SMITH: Appreciate it.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC